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Friday, June 15, 2012

Spring Vegetable Farro Risotto Recipe and Grain Share 101

Do you know when cereal commercials talk about being baked with "whole grain goodness?"  When I hear that I marvel about how many ways marketers try to make processed food sound healthy.  Rather than scratching my head trying to figure out exactly what is in that mystery box, last winter I decided to assure an entire year of actual whole grains (not just the goodness, the greatness!) by purchasing a share with the Pioneer Valley Heritage Grain CSA.  As a bonus, for my natural and nutritious buck, I also got the opportunity to support a local farm and ensure the future of diverse grain crops.  In my share, I got:

The Beans

The Corn

The Grains
It took me a few months to start cooking from my stash because I had a lot of whole grains left to get through when I got the share.  But now that I've gotten through some of the backlog, I plan to show you some ways that I am using my share to inspire you to support the folks at Wheatberry Farm.  At our April Food52 Mozzarella Party, I made my grain share debut with this recipe -

Spring Vegetable Farro Risotto

The beauty of having a year's worth of farro at home is that it comes in handy when you have an abundance of risotto worthy vegetables at home.  I'll give you target amounts of ingredients but have fun using what you have in your fridge!


  • 32 oz.  Broth (that's 2 boxes of the store bought stuff but what fun is that?  Make some good veggie broth with your vegetable share and use that instead.)
  • 1/2 c. Fresh Peas
  • 1/2 c. Asparagus - sliced in 1/4 in. disks
  • 1T. Butter
  • 1T. Olive Oil
  • 1 Leek, just the white parts - thinly sliced
  • 4-5 Cremini Mushrooms - thinly sliced
  • 1 c. Farro, uncooked 
  • 1 c. White wine that you would drink (what else are you going to put in your glass while you make the risotto?) 
  • 7-8 Brussels Sprouts - quartered and roasted in a bit of olive oil, sea salt, and pepper
  • 2 c. Baby Spinach - sliced thinly
  • 1/2 c. Caramelized onion mixture 
  • 4 oz. Good Melting Cheese, shredded - Parmesan and Asiago will work well.  I used Foxboro Cheese Company's Asiago.
  • 1T. Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Bring the broth to a boil and then bring down to a simmer.  
  2. With a slotted spoon, blanch the peas and asparagus in the broth for a few seconds until they are still firm but a vibrant green.

  3. Remove the vegetables from the broth and set aside. 
  4. Keep the broth warm on low heat.
  5. Heat a large pan with high sides on medium-high heat.
  6. Put olive oil and butter in the pan and saute the leeks and mushrooms for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Put rinsed and drained farro in the pan with the onions and mushrooms.  Toast for about 3 minutes.

  8. Add the wine to the pan and stir until the wine has been absorbed.
  9. Add a ladle full of the warmed broth to the pan at a time, stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed.  
  10. Continue adding broth and stirring until your farro is creamy.  It will take around 30 minutes and you may not use all of the broth.
  11. Take the pan off of the heat and add the already cooked Brussels sprouts, raw spinach, the caramelized onion mixture, and the cheese.  Stir until the spinach is wilted and the cheese is melted.
  12. Finish with another tablespoon of good quality extra virgin olive oil.
  13. Garnish, serve, and enjoy!

Between whole grain recipe posts, flex your whole grain talents with one of our Swapiversary Swap Star's books - Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck.  Check out her Wheatberry Fool recipe in the meantime!

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